As a concerned citizen of Wichita Falls, Texas, and a registered tornado specialist, I am writing to you to propose a mutually beneficial contract to be used as insurance against the threat of tornadoes. Each year, Texas endures over 130 tornadoes on average, each wreaking havoc and bringing distress to our fellow citizens. While many consists of F1 and F2 tornadoes, it only takes one to devastate an entire community, bringing countless injury and unfortunate death.
While there are many things to consider when dealing with the aftermath of a tornado, medical care shouldn’t be one of them.
Given how critical it is, we should have pre-planned care ready to ensure our residents are treated promptly and efficiently. Below I have discussed and outlined a course of action for us to take in order to secure the safety of all of Texas. Thank you for your time, Governor. Sincerely, Aria Merrill, Tornado Specialist What’s Going On? Texas is so prone to tornadoes due to our somewhat unique geography.
Tornadoes form as a byproduct of severe thunderstorms, or tornadic storms, that result from of a cold front. Storms that support areas with tornadic conditions can cause major outbreaks. During the late Texan spring, tornadoes can form along our dry line, where warm, moist air from the east meets hot, dry air from the west. Tornado season spans April through June, but if qualifying conditions are all met can occur at any point in the year. If you recall, 40 years ago we experienced a treacherous tornado that demolished our town and everything in its path, nicknamed by its survivors as “Terrible Tuesday”.
Three supercell sister storms spawned 13 major tornadoes, 59 overall, leaving 42 dead – and greater than 1700 injured. In addition, over 3000 homes were destroyed, with 20,000 homeless.
We collectively hemorrhaged over 400 million dollars in damages, 1.78 billion in today’s money. One overlooked storm, one failure to determine the extremity of a situation, and we could have the next Terrible Tuesday on our hands. With my proposition, we will have a form of insurance for our citizens, and can focus our efforts on restoration. After a tornado, much of the community is displaced and/or helpless, and as we saw on Terrible Tuesday, when facing a tornado that spans over a mile and half, we lose a great deal of power, thus losing major connection throughout our community. With debris as big as buses and entire tree trunks flying through the air, our search and rescue services will have a great deal of work on their hands, and in times like these we can’t wager the lives of our people by assuming our search and rescue services will be able to manage addressing each community need in a timely fashion.
We will require a great flow of search and rescue services coming in immediately if we hope to save our community and prevent the loss of too many lives. In addition, great injury is inflicted as debris is being thrown violently through the air, causing serious injuries stemming from blunt force trauma such as concussions and broken bones. Not only do tornadoes create the need of doctors to treat physical harm, but mental harm as well. Tornadoes put some at risk for PTSD, but even basic grief over the loss of a loved one will demand therapeutic services. This will require an immense amount of medical attention, and in order for our residents to be provided the attention they deserve rather than being put in the back seat, we will need a great influx of medical professionals. What Should We Do?
Thus I propose an initiative I call the Texan-Illinoian Alliance. We establish an agreement to provide medical care, search and rescue services, and other necessary forms of aid in a time of crisis for the other, a mutually beneficial contract that would provide for each party equally. IIlinois is primarily prone to extreme cold, which falls right outside of tornado season, meaning that our times of crises will rarely interfere. Both natural disasters require immense medical care, the main clause of this deal. Likewise, search and rescue services, while one would assume is much more necessary to tornado disasters, are very much needed during extreme cold storms in the event of a whiteout.
While the state receiving help will be responsible for paying for transportation and per diems, but clause should be outlined in which it must be paid within 90 days of the disasters final occurrence, with 5% interest, meaning that the state providing will initially be responsible these fees. Therefore, not only is our community receiving the help necessary, but the providing state gets a healthy cut, and is, therefore, more inclined to provide a greater amount of services. How Can We Keep Our Community Safe? Of course, these extreme measures are only necessary for the event we find ourselves caught unprepared in an aggressive tornado, and left with gruesome aftermath.
To prevent such occurrences, and render this a mere hypothetical, we can work to educate our schools and workplaces, pursue better forms of communication when a tornado is underway, and actively clear our streets before a disaster. I propose tornado preparedness is not only drilled at school, but is included in the very curriculum, reviewed each year, as our student’s safety is not something to shy away from. This lesson can be intertwined with the already included natural disaster unit, and not only will students be taught necessary protocols, but will be tested on them as well. Studies have suggested testing increases learning by up to 50% – in comparison to retrieval learning in which the student is fed information and even the popular learning tactic in which students draw diagrams, which teachers feel forces children to make connections, but in reality, creates an illusion that students have retained information better than they truly have.
By being tested each year of their K-12 school, the classic cram-and-forget test studying strategy will be avoided, and students will be able to take this test easily and effortlessly. Not only will this help thoroughly verse our students on necessary protocol, but may also help boost their GPA in the slightest. Workplace tornado drills should be mandated by the state of Texas, and be conducted at least once a month. While it may seem frequent, given the frequency of our tornadoes it is not unnecessary.
Bypassing Texan legislation requiring these drills, we can ensure the safety of our workplaces and are able to enforce these practices. About 70% of issued tornado watches are false alarms, which create an aire of security about them, something the National Weather Service Tornado Warning Improvement Project has addressed and is working hard to reduce. I propose the state of Texas set aside a fraction of its budget to fund this effort in order to ensure that it is done as timely as possible.
By increasing the reliability of tornado watches, we can better prepare our residents, for a tornado warning is only issued once a tornado is spotted, meaning it may be too late. As we work to perfect our tornado watches, shelters and school gyms will open their doors to the homeless in order to keep them safe from the outdoor conditions when a watch is issued. In doing so, we ensure our people are all accounted for and safe, and additionally teach our students a lesson in caring for one another. Through these numerous measures we can ensure we are as well prepared for a tornado as possible, and inspire others to enact the same forms of mutual agreements and natural disaster preparedness, thus sparing many from mother nature’s wrath.